Action Express Racing has confirmed a second entry in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, with NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson making his eight start in the event.
AXR, with Hendrick Motorsports, will field the #48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R for drivers Johnson, Simon Pagenaud, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Rockenfeller.
This will be run alongside the team’s #31 entry which will be piloted by the team’s fulltimers Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr, as well as Mike Conway. AXR has three Rolex 24 wins to its name already.
“We’ve been talking to Jimmie about running with us for many months,” said Gary Nelson, Action Express Racing team manager. “It all came together in November with the support of Hendrick Motorsports and their tremendous partner, Ally.
“Jimmie has a lot of experience at Daytona, not only on the oval, but turning into the infield as well. Simon brings a lot of endurance experience and Kamui adds a wealth of car set-up knowledge and speed to the car. We won the Rolex 24 with Mike in 2010, so he is familiar with how we operate.
“I would like to thank fellow IMSA competitor Paul Miller for sharing the #48 number.
“We’re looking at having a great 10-days in Daytona starting with the Roar Before the 24.”
Johnson whose last Rolex 24 came in a Corvette DPi in 2011, commented: “The Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the marquee races in the world. It’s such a challenging event for both team and driver and requires such a high level of concentration throughout. It’s just such a fun and unique race to compete in.
“This will be the first time I’ve raced with Action Express and have been very impressed with the team and its preparation.
“I’m also excited to have Ally on board and to be co-driving with Simon, Kamui, and Mike who are three world class drivers with experience in this race and the DPi Class. I’ve finished second in this event, so I’m looking forward to trying to get on the top step in 2021.”
“We can’t wait to see Jimmie and his teammates run the Daytona road course in the No. 48 Cadillac DPi-V.R,”’ said Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer, Ally. “We are happy to continue supporting him as he tries to conquer another legendary race at this legendary track.”
Pagenaud ran in Team Penske’s Acura ARX-05 the last three years, finishing fourth last January.
“The Daytona 24 hour is a classic endurance race,” Pagenaud said. “I love taking part in this race! It’s exciting to get to start the year in Daytona as it gets me ready for the season.
“Teaming up with Jimmie is an honor. He is a NASCAR legend. I’ve always looked up to him. His new adventures in racing are going to be great to watch.
Kamui is a sportscar expert and has won Daytona two times. His experience and speed should be a great addition to our line-up. Mike has raced and won all of the big endurance races and is ultra-quick.”
Kobaysahi, who won the last two Rolex 24s in Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac, said: “I think we have a big chance to win. You have to stay on the lead lap and then the last couple of hours be ready to fight for the victory. I am confident with the Cadillac DPi-V.R, it is with a different team this year for me, but the same great car.”
Rockenfeller, a Le Mans, Rolex 24, Sebring, and Spa 24 winner, commented: “Super excited to be back racing in Daytona in the top category and in the AXR Cadillac DPi-V.R… It is where I wanted to be again after racing in the GT category for a few years.
“It is great to be a part of such a strong team of drivers. There are so many elements that need to come together to win a 24-hour race. On paper we have all of the things to be successful.
“It will be nice to comeback to AXR with Ian Watt, Gary Nelson and Bob Johnson who are still with the team. It has been quite some time since I was in their car in 2010. I hope we will be fighting again for the watch at the end again this year.”
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